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Latino Daily News

Monday August 16, 2010

Utah Looks at Guest Worker Program, Shifting its Once Harsh Stance Toward Undocumented Workers

Utah was on the path to craft legislation similar to Arizona’s SB 1070 and go beyond Arizona’s controversial law and require state welfare workers to check the immigration status of applicants.  Now all you hear in the halls of Utah government is the spirit of cooperation and worker integration.  What happened in Utah on the road to creating its own SB 1070?

Well, SB 1070 happened. Portions of the law were struck down with a federal court injunction; there are lawsuits, boycotts and loss of state revenue.  Couple this with the black eye that Utah received for releasing the names of 1,300 people suspected of being in the country illegally – all made for an opportunity to look at the illegal immigration problem with a new lens.

Discussions are under way to redraft the current illegal immigration legislation to integrate undocumented workers already in the state and punish those entering after enactment with strict enforcement rules.  The “integration program” would allow undocumented individuals in Utah to pay a fine and agree to learn English allowing them to remain working in the state. 

The law has the support of the Republican Governor, Gary Herbert, the state’s chamber of commerce and its attorney general while the opposing view feels this would only encourage other undocumented workers to come to Utah.